By Tong Kot Kuocnin, LL.B, LL.M, Nairobi, Kenya, MAR/30/2016, SSN;
South Sudanese are indeed a great people. They are people endowed with very strong heart who continuously suffer in dignified silence even when there’s need to rise up in demand for certain rights. This is exactly the situation South Sudanese find themselves in at a time when their own government should have stood up for them.
The economic hardships we’re facing are not less than the economic hardships and situation which caused President Ben Ali of Tunisia to flee, President Ali Abdellah Saleh of Yemen to leave office and flee and the great President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt to resign and put onr trial up to now.
The causes and conditions of this so-called Arab Spring which almost swept through the entire Arab world are not less than the economic hardships we’re facing here in South Sudan. Our economic situation is much worse than that of the Arab Spring World.
Our unemployment rate is beyond hundred per cent level. Hundreds of South Sudanese go to bed on empty stomachs. Some are already dead and the rest are on their way to the graves. This is worse than that of the Arab Spring.
The only difference is that we’re used to patiently enduring hardships of all sorts meanwhile the citizens of the countries where the Arab spring burst out aren’t used to this kind of situation.
But the questions many south Sudanese are asking are: what’s the government of South Sudan really doing? What exactly is the role of the Ministry of finance and Economic Planning? How about the Central bank, what’s its role? Which institution is truly responsible for economic policies and planning? And which institution is responsible for the implementation of national monetary policies in South Sudan?
Hard questions a layman like me can’t grapple to answer. But to answer some questions on matters of facts and law, the Central Bank has its own share of failure for it is the one that is charged by law to formulate monetary policy, promote and maintain price stability, maintain a stable exchange rate, and maintain sound, efficient and effective banking system.
But the Central bank instantly failed in its function to strictly regulate, maintain sound, effective and efficient banking system when it allows all Forex Bureaus and Commercial Banks to commercialize dollars instead of keeping it as a medium of exchange.
The Central Bank commercialized the dollar, making it an item for trade and not a medium of exchange causing hikes in almost every item on sale in the market.
Today, the rate of 1 dollar stood at 37 SSP, meaning that one hundred dollar is equal to 3,700 SSP causing inflation rate to rise more than 250%, something which never happened in any country around the world.
The two institutions, ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Central Bank have completely failed us with their weak measures and an untenable modality of strategizing the efficiency of economy.
It seems that in South Sudan, everything runs on its own. Traders are selling and raising prices on their own, Central bank floating the rate of the hard currency as it wishes unquestionably.
The luckiest rich few are manipulating everything from the Ministry of Finance with their so-called LCs to the Central Bank to the market at the expense of the downtrodden poor South Sudanese who have no ability or the energy to do anything about it or change the status quo.
The authorities both at the ministry of finance and economic planning and the central bank together with their cohorts are responsible for this economic downturn.
We entrusted hyenas with responsibility to look after our goats and sheep. We gave them power to roast any goat or sheep they wish amongst our goats and sheep. This is why this economic turmoil ensued and is the sole reason you can’t understand the head and the tail of who is responsible and who’s not in this country.
The country seems to have been left on its own whim to turn its economic downturn into economic boom. We’re convinced that truly our government is indeed a boondoggled government.
Where’s the Joshua? Or is he the driver of this vehicle that is taking South Sudanese to hell earlier than the days that God planned for them each at a time?
Let our government know that the root causes of the Arab Spring aren’t more than ours and that Arab Spring may inevitably ensue in this part of the world for we may be forced to violently demand our socio-economic rights to food and decent living like others.
We can’t permit others to enjoy live at our expense on resources that belongs to all of us. If you invite a musician for 1.5 million dollars while hundreds of South Sudanese are going to bed with an empty stomach, thousands are starving to death and hundreds are dying, some have already died of hunger, where did you get that money from?
What a country! It obvious, the money was gotten from the public finances because the father of the person who contracted the musician is the governor of the Central Bank, you can take any money you want and nobody can hold him to account.
Thus, if the president can’t think twice to bring in responsible personalities with expertise both at the ministry of finance and at the central bank to turn things around, he must be prepared for eventualities from the people of South Sudan who will not in any way continue to suffer at the hands of selfish and corrupt leaders who buy their positions at the expense of the people.
There will be time when the people of South Sudan stand up to forcefully demand their socio-economic rights from these oligarchs and mafias. We will surely touch these untouchable mafias and oligarchs who scoop all our money for their selfish enrichment unless they rescue themselves from this shambles.
I assure you, economic and political uprising as necessary civil means of ending the life of a repugnant and an unproductive government like the government of South Sudan will be inevitable.
Mr. President, this is a fact. Look at the faces of South Sudanese; listen to their voices on the streets on how they are suffering and you will dismiss this failed minister of finance who buys his position using public money and the weak, lousy and ailing governor of the Central Bank; the danger is surely haunting you and it will sooner reach your gate if you don’t act swiftly.
The writer is a Master of Laws (LLM) candidate at School of Law, University of Nairobi. He can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org